Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm keeping a list of all the things that steal my heart, and it's getting a little long. There was that tree that gently dropped a single leaf on the top of my head and an old man in a knit hat who smiled and motioned me toward the bus before him. A small dog that carried its own leash in its mouth. A friend making sure the deviled eggs weren't too spicy, and three more nestled around a table, working. A late night smile and a hand in my hair.

I wonder about hearts, and how we live with them riddled with holes big enough to see through. And maybe this is why I wonder so much about the octopus, living with three hearts in the cold and the dark. There's a kind of heart disease named after them, the broken heart syndrome, where sometimes emotional stress can cause the heart to suddenly weaken. Three is, I think, too many--I'm sure the one is vulnerable enough.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am excited beyond description, even though the turducken won't be making an appearance this year. On the upside, we'll actually have a wishbone for once, and as usual more food than should be allowed.

After the zombie party, Josh said, "every so often you’re lucky enough to find that you’re living in the middle of this life that you never thought to imagine for yourself." I don't know quite how I got here, but I'm sure glad I did. There are a lot of adventures left to be had.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I am tired and worn thin, waiting for a change, and inexplicably anxious. These last few months have taken their toll.

Everything larger is too big, so I focus in on all the details. Details are what I am best at. The beadwork and ruffles on the cuff of my gloves, hidden by my coat sleeve. A high-necked gray blouse that no one else likes because they don't know about the row of tiny buttons that climb the back of my neck under the soft fall of my hair. The specific sensation of sitting on the floor in the back room of a tiny gallery, watching someone play the guitar while the foot of the stranger behind taps softly on my lower back in time with the beat. Drinking beer from a can in a paper bag, and wearing jewel tone clothes on dark rainy nights. Whatever makes everything large a little bit smaller.

Just until something changes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tiny owl stands on rat

PS, this is what nature in action looks like.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

There's a tree next to my second bus stop on the way to school, so I stand under it twice a week, waiting. There was a storm while its leaves were yellowing, and one of the lower-down branches broke but didn't fall. The leaves on it stopped yellowing and started browning while all of the other leaves got brighter and brighter and then fell off. The brown leaves are still there, the only ones left on the tree now.

On Saturday night I was clomping up hill to the bus when I noticed a tiny owl sitting on the sidewalk in front of me, glaring. It seemed disinclined to move and I tried to edge around it, not wanting to startle it if it was hurt. The owl turned its head and followed my movement, still not moving, still looking profoundly annoyed at me. Nothing is as good at looking annoyed as an owl. So I retreated backwards a few steps downhill--no easy feat in my heels--and walked out into the street to avoid the owl altogether. It was only then, when the streetlight and I hit the right angle and it flashed in both the eyes of the owl and the eyes of the rat he was sitting on, that I realized why he was refusing so steadfastly to go anywhere.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Getting bloody

Last night I dressed up as a zombie for the first time.

I was pretty against the whole idea from the beginning, given my quite logical distrust of zombies and my frequent zombie nightmare, but a close friend was turning 30 on Friday the 13th and having a zombie birthday, so resistance was simply not an option. I went for the fresh zombie look, in order to avoid having to rip up my clothes.

Surprisingly, I haven't ever wandered around in public smeared in either real or fake blood before, and it was interesting to watch strangers react. Some people wanted to bond over the last time they went out dressed as a zombie, and some of them just whispered and pointed at us. My cab driver home, memorably, almost screeched away when he noticed the blood all over my face and then nearly hyperventilated trying to make sure that I didn't need to go to the hospital.

My main conclusions from the night are that fake blood is extremely itchy, and that people dancing like zombies are quite possibly the funniest thing in the known universe.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Physics demands that when we nudge our buttered bread off of the table it will land butter side down. I wonder if these are the same rules that drive all of our coin tosses, if the side that has the most anticipation layered on top is actually the one that always loses. If it's our hopes that weigh us down.

On an evening in Rome I came across a fountain, which is not that uncommon an occurrence--Rome is liberally laced with fountains. I was exhausted, having spent the day getting thoroughly lost on streets that, I could swear, appeared on the map on the opposite side of town. I flung myself down next to the fountain, thoroughly discouraged, and halfheartedly tossed in a coin. And that was when I discovered I wasn't alone.

Lounging against a wall and smoking a cigarette was a girl who scoffed at me in an accent I couldn't place. How could I expect my wish to come true if I tossed it in such a desultory fashion? She demonstrated how it ought to be done, throwing a coin over her shoulder and winking at me when it hit the water with a satisfying plop. We passed a few minutes tossing coins into the fountain in the silliest ways we could think of--on one foot, between our legs, over the other person's shoulder. And wouldn't you know, when I left to plod along in search of dinner, my shoulders felt so much straighter.

I don't think any of those wishes have come true yet in fact but they have a little in spirit, and in either case I'm pretty sure that those coins, at least, landed butter side up.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Man, that island sure is pretty.

Late, late on Saturday night we finished watching a movie and found that the tide was out. I borrowed some yellow rubber boots and a flashlight and walked out just a little past where the water hit--I could feel the water cooling the boots and slowly numbing my toes. And then I turned off the flashlight.

Behind me, in the cabin, my friends were cuddled up watching another movie. Nothing moved around me but the water lapping gently at my ankles and the stars pushed back the clouds covering them. I could have stayed right there and right then forever.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Today we're going to take a boat to an island and stuff 13 people into cabins with beds for 12, and have an adventure for the weekend. There's a big storm happening, and I have read enough teenage pulp horror fiction to know that this is the perfect setting for something terrible to happen, but with a little luck we'll just cozy up in piles and play board games and drink hot toddies and tell jokes. And all make it back out alive.

With a little luck, all the wind and waves and laughing will blow these mean reds right out from under my eyelids, calm the 3/4 time waltz of my heart, smooth these fists out of my hands.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

We described our memories in blanks, fitting our hands around the spaces held by what is no longer there. Excavating, fingers caked in the dirt of what once belonged, creating distance and cracks large enough to funnel through a cleansing breeze. What we used to be, but aren't, now. Better and worse, and smaller.

I made a game out of drowning the sun in smaller and smaller places--a hiss in the ocean and a cloud of steam in a puddle and something new altogether in a vitreous humour. Blotting out the light to see what was behind it like a little girl playing hide and seek.

Sometimes I wonder if what is going to drown us all in the end is what used to be there and still is, somewhere, just looking different than how we remember. Everything has to go somewhere.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The last three Halloweens have involved three very different costumes and three very different experiences. I think it's the costume that's the factor. (Actually, the last three Halloweens have involved sitting on my couch, but the pre-Halloween parties still hold the point.) Baberaham Lincoln partied like a lunatic until around 4 am. As a giraffe I made out like crazy at a smoky after party. As a skeleton, I had to stop dancing because I was laughing too hard at dancing zombies and was home alone by 2:30.
I'm not sure what the lesson here is, exactly, but I think it has something to do with flesh.

Yesterday was a year since my granddad passed away. I'm still not used to it. I'm still not sure I want to be.